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Solving the Aging Workforce Dilemma

Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, founder and CEO of Wahve


There may never be a better time to look for work. In the month of July 2021 alone, 4 million Americans quit their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s a trend that peaked in April 2021 and has continued, creating 10.9 million job openings by the end of July 2021. According to a Gallup poll, 48% of today’s workforce are either looking for a new job or actively considering it.
That puts even more pressure on a tight labor market, which was reeling from the mass exodus brought on by the Baby Boomer retirement crisis. That crisis deepened even further when the pandemic settled in, with 3.2 million more Boomers heading for the exits in Q3 of 2020 than those who did so in Q3 2019. In the insurance industry, such a shortage is here to stay – by this year, nearly one-fourth of all insurance executives will be within a decade of retirement.

As these veteran workers exit the workforce, so too do their skills and knowledge. Yet while many companies are making it a primary goal to attract young talent, few recognize a missing piece of the overall solution – keeping the aging workforce engaged and contributing.

It’s an oversight that could cost insurers and agencies plenty in terms of training and lost opportunities. That doesn’t have to be. Many more workers aged 55 and over are working successfully – and happily – beyond the traditional retirement age.

The Boomer generation has plenty more to contribute. Yet conventional employment may not fit with their changing lifestyles. While many older workers could continue beyond retirement age, there are many reasons why they don’t – family obligations, better work-life balance, or the wish to slow down or lose an undesirable commute.

Those choices don’t have to equate into losing the talent and skills of your veteran professionals. Thanks in part to the hybrid work environment organizations were forced to adopt amid the pandemic, you can now offer your retiring or retired worker a way to transition into retirement or supplement their retirement while remaining engaged and contributing.

Embracing New Methods

Companies can easily adapt to today’s retiring workforce through these hybrid work opportunities. Doing so allows organizations to keep their talent actively engaged while ensuring that critical knowledge and skills remain within the company. Remote business methods can address the needs of the aging workforce. Doing so can benefit both you and your veteran workers.

Quality of Life

Retiring and retired professionals may be looking to relocate, be closer to family, find more work-life balance, or re-engage their skills in a less stressful, more hands-on role. A more portable career could address those needs. Your company benefits through reduced office overhead, reduced onsite risks, retention (or acquisition) of veteran talent.

Supplemental Earnings

Many retiring professionals want or need additional income during retirement, yet often don’t require the same salary levels. Earning supplemental income can help them delay drawing on retirement benefits or help them care for aging parents or a family member. The organization benefits by retaining people with expert-level skills at a significantly reduced wage.

A Home-based Career

Losing the commute or feeling more in control of one’s work-life balance is a common goal for many retiring workers, yet few companies offer step-down or half-time remote working options. A home-based worker can actively contribute while finding time to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle. Your company benefits because now you have access to an unlimited talent pool that doesn’t rely on physical location.

A New Career Focus

Many retiring workers we see are looking to transition their skills from one focus area to another. A claims adjuster may want to work in loss control, or a marketing professional may want to transition into a sales assistant role. By downsizing the career within the industry, professionals can continue to play an important role while experiencing a new area of concentration. That benefits your company through engaging specialized talent that can augment and share knowledge with the current workforce.

The Desire to Contribute

So many retirement-age professionals simply want to continue contributing to the industry. They want the challenge that the work gives them, and they want to feel that sense of accomplishment without the need to be physically located in the office. What you get: motivated workers who have made an active, conscious decision to seek opportunity and engagement within the industry.

The Remote Solution

As the industry faces an impending brain drain and exodus of expert talent, companies should be considering alternatives beyond simply hiring young professionals to fill the vacancies. Adopting a remote solution to help the retirement-age workforce step down into a more support-oriented role, companies can keep top talent contributing as the younger workforce learns the ropes. The retiring talent that has helped grow the industry isn’t ready to walk away. Smart companies recognize that and will work to keep that knowledge from walking out the door.


About the author
Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is founder and CEO of Work At Home Vintage Experts (WAHVE).  WAHVE is an innovative contract talent platform that specializes in matching retiring, experienced and knowledgeable professionals with a company’s talent requirements. WAHVE bridges the gap between an employer’s staffing needs and seasoned retiring professionals extending their career working from home. Our screening and placement process provide a complete and effective solution to talent qualifying, hiring, and HR administration.